The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 3

Physical heredity is destiny. Healthy or sickly bodies. Unjust persecutions. Errors of justice. Congenital idiots. The span of life. Manner of death.

Heredity is destiny. Physical endowments, habits and traits, may seem to be clearly those of one’s parents, especially in early youth. Yet ultimately these physical peculiarities, habits of snuffling, whining, blinking, walking with hands in the pockets; or traits like a tendency to baldness, defective sight, gout, clubfoot or soft bones, are expressions of the thoughts of one’s previous lives. Inclinations may be modified or accentuated by the tendencies of the parents, and sometimes close association causes the features of two or more persons to resemble each other, yet all was regulated by one’s own thinking. What is called heredity of the body is only the medium through which the physical destiny is produced, the loom on which it is woven. Parentage is selected because of the special properties inherent in the germs of the father and mother.

Whether the new body is diseased or healthy depends among other things upon the abuse or care that was given to the past body. If the body inherited is healthy, it means sobriety, frugality, work in the past; if sickly or diseased, it means that it is the result of gluttony, drunkenness, laziness or neglect. A healthy or a diseased body is primarily and ultimately due to the antecedent use or abuse of the sex function. Another antecedent cause is the proper or improper use of food. Disorders, if they exist when life is ended, are brought into the next physical life, at birth or later, and are what is called hereditary. Such affections as soft bones, poor teeth, imperfect sight and cancerous growths, are due to the causes mentioned.

Blindness may result from many cumulative causes in former lives, like carelessness of one’s own sight or destruction of another’s. Former inordinate indulgence of sex may produce in this life paralysis of the optic nerve. Former misuse or abuse of the eye by overtaxing it or neglecting it may bring on blindness in the present life. Blindness at birth may be caused by having inflicted upon others diseases of sex, or by having willfully or carelessly deprived another of his sight.

He who is born deaf or dumb may be one who has willfully listened to and acted upon lies told by others, or who has wronged others by spreading spiteful scandal, by lying or by bearing false witness. Dumbness may also have its cause in the abuse of sex.

One of the reasons for blindness is that the sense of sight has its roots in the generative system, and the other senses are vitally connected with it. The life of the physical body depends on the vitality and powers elaborated in the sex organs and distributed through the body. Eventually man will learn that it is necessary to check indulgence and waste in order to give power to the senses, and beauty, health and strength to the body.

Deformities, impairments and afflictions are often blessings in disguise. They may be checks which prevent one from doing things which he longs for or might do, and which if done would prevent him from doing that work in the world which is his particular duty. They may interrupt a tendency which, if not stopped, would acquire such force as to lead him into idiocy, as in the case of a glutton or a rake. These checks are designed to give the doer an opportunity to reflect, to recuperate, to limit the tendency to self-indulgence and disregard of others’ needs and rights. So a doer is often saved from its destructive bent by an affliction which checks its ignorant belief in its own almightiness, and turns it on to the way of rectitude and honor.

Forms of grace and beauty are externalized thoughts. As to beauty, two kinds may be distinguished. That a face or figure is beautiful does not necessarily signify that the thoughts are beautiful, they are often quite the reverse. The beauty of many men and women in youth is the elemental beauty of nature, not the direct result of the presence of the Light of the Intelligence. When the thinking has not opposed nature, the lines are well-rounded and graceful, and the features are even and well-adjusted, like particles which are grouped together in symmetrical regularity by sound. This is elemental beauty; it is the beauty of the daisy or the rose, of childhood and of youth. From this elemental beauty is to be distinguished beauty issuing from strong, intelligent mental activities. This kind of beauty is seldom seen. Between the two extremes, beauty of elemental innocence and that of serenity and of knowledge, are faces and forms of innumerable varieties. When thinking is first practiced, the elemental beauty of face and figure may be lost. Then the lines become irregular, harder and more angular, and this continues during the process of training. But when the doer is at last beyond the control of the four senses and its thinking is done intelligently, the severe lines are again changed; they are softened and express the beauty of peace, derived from a cultured, balanced, strong and virtuous doer.

The limbs and organs of the body are instruments for using great powers in the Universe. One may not misuse or leave unused the instrument of a universal power without paying the penalty; for each one has these organs in order that he may put them to physical use to further universal purposes, and become conscious of the connection between his body and the Universe. When these organs are misused, or used to injure others, it is a more serious thing than at first appears. It is an interference with the plan of the Universe by turning the individual against the whole.

The hands are organs of executive power. One is deprived of the use of the hands as a result of not having used them when they should have been, or if they have served against the bodies or interests of others. Employing a hand to abuse another’s body by breaking his limb, or by signing unjust orders, or employing the hand generally in acts of oppression, extortion and crooked dealing, may result in deprivation of the use of the hand for some time, or in its loss. Loss of the use of a limb may result from any kind of “accident.”

Immediate physical causes are not the real or ultimate, but only the apparent causes. In the case of one who loses a limb by the unhappy mistake of a surgeon or nurse, the immediate cause of the loss is said to be carelessness or accident; but the real cause is some past action or inaction of the maimed himself, which is exteriorized by means of the carelessness. It is in just payment that he is deprived of the use of his limb. A surgeon and nurse too careless of or inattentive to their patients will themselves sometime suffer at the hands of others. The pain is for the purpose of teaching how others have felt under like conditions; of preventing them from repeating similar actions and of making them value more the power which may be used through the limb. If they do not learn from the loss, they will again suffer.

He who inflicts willful injury upon others, who forces or inveigles others into plots or fights where physical suffering results, and who seems to benefit from the wrong done them and to enjoy prestige and unjust gains, may live out his life unharmed, but the thought of the wrong is still with him; his thought is not fully exteriorized; from it he cannot escape.

He who is unjustly persecuted, convicted or imprisoned, is he who in a past life, or even in the present one, has, through malice, greed or indifference, caused others to be deprived unjustly of their liberty. He suffers captivity and its horrors of diseases, of an enfeebled body, of vitiated morals, so that he may experience and sympathize with such sufferings and may avoid false accusation or causing others to be coerced and to lose their liberty and health. Many are today the victims of errors of justice, who deserve this galling fate because of the wantonness with which they discharged their duties while they had power, sat in the judgment seat or refrained through indolence or selfishness from doing what they might have done to bring about fair judgment. The wardens of prisons, of poorhouses and insane-asylums, the guardians of infants, in short all in whose charge are placed the life, health and fate of others, are held to the strictest account for their acts and omissions in the performance of their duty. Neglect, rancor or venality in the discharge of one’s duty, will draw him inevitably into the position of his victims, there to undergo the wrongs he has done or has allowed to be done, to them. Escape for a day or for a life is not escape forever.

A special case of physical retribution is that of a congenital idiot. His condition is the result of past actions in many lives in which there have been only physical indulgences of the appetites, actions which are all debits and no credits. The congenital idiot has no drawing account, all physical credits having been used up. He is likely to be the last appearance for an indefinite period of a portion of the doer in human form. Before this last appearance the doer has lived many lives of depravity and decadence, in neglected districts of cities or in the country, among peons, cretins and the backward dwellers on mountain sides. Finally comes the last appearance as a hopeless idiot. The chief producing causes of this fate are sexual abuses, narcotics and drunkenness.

Such an anomaly as an idiot who has some one faculty abnormally developed, is the remnant of a man who has indulged the senses and the abnormalities of sex, but who has carried on the study of one particular subject, such as music or mathematics, and devoted himself to that.

Idiots, congenital or otherwise, become so by the withdrawal of the doer portion from the human, as a result of opportunities persistently neglected or misused. With the doer portion goes the Light of the Intelligence.

The span of life of every human is already determined at the close of his previous life, but the period may be sometimes lengthened or shortened. The length of the span was marked on the form of the breath-form at death, and that impresses the sign on the first cell with which the building of the new body begins. Accordingly a coil is developed in the astral body by elementals. The coil will let a certain amount of life force pass, namely, enough for the span of the person’s life.

The length of the span is predetermined so as to let the person do the work and pass through the events called for by his destiny. Within the span he generates new thoughts, does or refuses to do the work, makes new destiny, and he puts off some minor events. In a general way the course of his life and the salient events, and the time within which he must finish, are laid out for him, but he has choice as to how he will act in details and with what mental attitude he will view these salient events.

The manner of death is physical destiny, and is already predetermined at the end of the preceding life. There is one exception, suicide. The mere disposition to commit suicide is predetermined, but even in that case the man can choose whether or not he will die by his own hand. He may have contemplated the act and refused to do it, but if he continues to think and plan about suicide, the predetermined tendency together with his continued thinking will be exteriorized in the act of self-murder.

By committing suicide one does not escape from the allotted span of life or from the sorrow, dread, pain or disgrace he feared to endure by living on. Death by one’s own hand is not like the ordinary case of dying. In the case of self-murder the doer remains with the breath-form in the radiant state of the physical plane, experiencing all it dreaded to meet in life, and does not go into the after death states until after the allotted span of life ends. In the next life on earth he will have the same inclination to commit suicide, but coupled with that will be a dread of it. In that life he is liable to be murdered. In no case can he escape by suicide that which he feared to suffer. The conditions from which he sought escape will confront him again, because they are exteriorizations of his own thoughts.

The physical body is the fulcrum on which thoughts are balanced. It is without feeling—almost as dead in life as it is after death. Decay, impermanence and corruption are almost synonymous with the human body. It is the sediment of all the worlds, their dregs and lees. The doer during its life on earth feels and desires through such a body, and after death it is confronted with what it has felt and desired through the body during life. The activity and vigor, the breath and life of the body, are due to the presence of the doer. The involuntary functions of the body continue only as long as the doer and its breath-form inhabit it. What seems to be a lasting body is a moving mass, constantly changing, always coming and going and held in visibility only while it is in passage through the shape of the astral body, according to the breath-form. A human body, however, is the thing on which all is set, around which all turns, upon which all that the doer longs for and hopes to have or to be is centered.

Though a human body has no permanence or existence in itself, by means of it the doer is put into touch with matter of the worlds and even of the spheres. By means of such a body the doer takes form, learns what its feelings and desires are and how to refine them, and what the feelings of others are and how to feel with them. By means of this body the doer learns how to think.